- Jian Wu aka Two (played by Christian G.): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- Jiao Ting aka Eight (Played by Chris D): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- Liang Jing Min aka Five (Played by Randy H.): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- Nongmin Chushi aka Seven (played by Rory F.): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- Sheng Yi aka One (Played by Calvin J): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- Zhiyu Zhige aka Nine (NPC): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- He Bohai aka Eleven (NPC): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- He Donghai aka Twelve (NPC): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- Ko Lenfan aka Four (NPC): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- Laoshu aka Mouse aka Three (NPC): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- Meiyou Ren aka Six (NPC): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
- Rang Baozhai aka Ten (NPC): TBA. Tagline: TBA.
Previously . . .
With the supplies brought back to the Order and the bandit leader given to the Order along with all the armor and weapons taken by the quartermaster. They’re told that their bounties will be counted and handed out later. They’re given a bit of time to rest before ushered into sparring sessions. There’s a few different classes: unarmed, armed, magic, shamanism. Nongmin would only have to go against one other person. Jian Wu, if going into armed combat, would have to take a different weapon other than his specialized 44lb sword. Sheng Yi’s ranged sparring is done as a different metric. The scoring they work with is kept secret, but if they manage to score high enough, they’d likely to be able to impress some teachers.
Back Home and to Work
Jian Wu, Jiao Ting, Liang Jing Min, Nongmin Chushi, Sheng Yi, and Zhiyu Zhige
The Citadel of the August Order of the Black Jade Guard
Ninth Month 18th day, 1001 Zao Dynasty, 12th hour
First up is Nongmin in his sparring combat with shamanistic powers. Despite there being only one other shaman, they don’t know too much about each other. As they stand there, the opposing shaman starts to concentrate and his features seem to shift into different animals. Nongmin responds with a telekinetic grapple to the nose, and a quick twist causes the opposing shaman to break his concentration. Nongmin punches out with his telekinesis but deals almost no damage when the opposing shaman grabs for Nongmin’s groin and strikes, causing Nongmin’s eyes to cross and his return attack to miss. The opposing shaman strikes again, trading blows. Nongmin channels some extra effort into his telekinesis to grab his opponent but falls trying to dodge the return strike and falls prone. A quick back and forth has Nongmin’s opponent fall unconscious and therefore makes Nongmin the winner where he’s healed by Zhiyu along with the unconscious opponent.
Next up in the sparring circle is Zhiyu. They’re allowed any kind of improvised and real magic but no physical contact is allowed unless they’re a part of the spell. Her opponent goes first and throws lightning at Zhiyu but she dodges. Her return attack is to create a pit of hell underneath him via a greater illusion and causes him to yield from the sheer terror. Zhiyu returns to her seat among the jeers of her teammates and Jian Wu.
With their Creche mates going up through the fights, they all manage to overwhelmingly win their fights as unarmed and armed combats where set up.
Jian Wu is next up with a training sword so it’s unlikely to actually cut off a limb, same as his opponent. With Jian Wu stepping forwards, he manages to deal a crushing blow to the torso that knocks his opponent out with a single blow.
Nongmin is now going back into the ring with a quarterstaff versus an opponent wearing cestuses. Nongmin’s opponent steps forwards and pops Nongmin in the face twice, his parry and dodge does no good as Nongmin has a glass jaw and falls unconscious immediately after the first blow.
Next up is Jing Min with his spear versus a man with a bladed hand. His opponent closes in and strikes which Jing Min retreats backwards and stabs him in the leg which gets parried. Closing in again, he fails to strike again. Jing Min takes a giant step away and goes for the throat, dealing enough damage to crush the windpipe. Zhiyu quickly gets called in to heal the man who is laying there choking to death.
Sheng Yi takes his place at the archery line and fires off multiple arrows, managing to show off versus the rest of the archers on the line. He actually manages to split on of his in twain while another archer on the line manages to somehow break his own bow on the draw.
Now it’s into the unarmed combat, with Jiao Ting being up in the circle. While the opponent evaluates Ting, Ting takes his standard opening move and strikes with a slam into his opponent, connecting with ease. Dominating the battle through use of proper tactics and closing with his opponent, the only effective attack gotten off on Ting was a kick that was dodged away from and then reconnected with a slam. The final attack happened in a second when he clinches into the opponent and delivers a devastating strike into his opponent’s groin, causing him to pass out from the pain. Letting him down, Ting bows to his unconscious opponent and leaves the ring where Zhiyu rushes in to heal their opponent.
Next up is Sheng Yi, where they spend some time evaluating each other before Sheng strikes that gets dodged. His next blows managed to be dodged while his own blows are traded, Sheng Yi and his opponent moves around the ring when Sheng Yi manages to catch his leg and uses a Judo throw to cause some damage and drop him prone before breaking the opponent’s arm and causing his opponent to drop unconscious. Sheng Yi looks among the audience for certain persons.
Nongmin is up again for unarmed fights, leading to his opponent jumping towards Nongmin with a flying kick which Nongmin manages to use his opponent’s momentum against him and put him on the ground hard. Nongmin keeps kicking the man while he’s down, until the opponent manages to break his stun and slowly gets up. Continuing to kick the opponent into unconsciousness. Zhiyu moves in once again to heal the unconscious fighter as Jing Min moves into the ring.
With Jing Min in the ring for unarmed combat. It seems that they’ve all trained in reflexes and speed rather than skill as the opponent charges forwards and does a roundhouse kick that flails badly which Jing Min returns with a punch to the face that knocks him down. Jing Min then goes ham on the prone opponent, breaking both his arms forcing him to submit. Zhiyu is annoyed ay having to heal all these people without pay.
Next up is Jian Wu. Jian Wu charges forwards and grapples at his opponent and picks him up. The opponent doesn’t have much luck with breaking free before Jian Wu steps forwards and throws him from the ring, winning the round with little damage to everyone.
Now it’s finally Zhiyu comes in with He Qing coming in as the final fight. He Qing moves in close to grapple Zhiyu who dodges away from both, grapples back and drives a knee into his face knocking him down and stunning him. He barely gets his senses back before Zhiyu does an arm lock and hitting pressure points, crippling his arm as he slowly moves upwards while Zhiyu cripples his other arm. Zhiyu grapples him again and drops him back to the ground with pressure points crippling his leg. The judge wants to call it, leaving He Qing crippled on the ground as she bows to the elders and then leaves the ring, sparing no look back at He Qing.
The final scores comes out with everyone nearly consistently in the top ten. Zhiyu was found to be the best unarmed attacker and Mouse the 4th best. Jian Wu and Jing Min are in the top three of armed combat with Sheng being the best ranged combatant.
They get taken to the office of the team leader, Jong Jong Shi and known as the God Fist, who Is in charge of training overall where there’s another man of indeterminate age named Pei Mei. They’re sat down and informed that their teacher, Yuehan has been found dead. He was found to have been slipped down the stairs and broke his neck. He was found by another student. Most of the students are quite incredulous about it. Jong Shi says that an investigation has been opened but, in the meantime, they will be taught by Pai Mei who only takes one or two students at a time ever. Zhiyu, in the middle of the room, throws the bones right in front of the teachers for divination, asking if the two in front of them are implicit in Yuehan’s death and they respond with no.
They are to follow Pai Mei to his retreat in the mountains where they’ll be trained by Pai Mei and visiting masters as they come around, including the Green Seer that was training Nongmin and Zhiyu. The Master of Whispers passes along his compliments via Jong Shi that they had captured the bandit leader who was a former part of the order named He Caihong. They’re informed that they’ll speak with the Master of Whispers and sleep in their beds before making the trek to Pai Mei’s retreat tomorrow. They’re led away with Pai Mei staring at them all.
They head to the location where the master’s body lays when Zhiyu suggests to Nongmin that they try to channel the spirit of Yuehan and threatens to tell the Green Seer when they begin to argue. Speaking with his spirit, the master doesn’t know if he was pushed down the stairs and tries to warn them of great danger. He speaks of organizations and they’re looking for the Ebon Book of 1000 Nightmares which is kept under lock and key where only the head of the organization and the librarian can open it. They’re told to stay. They have to expose the mole to protect the book. They’re told that he’s very proud of some of them when told that they did well in the bouts. He tells them to ask the Green Seer about the Nightseekers and the Black Silk Rebellion. When informed that they’re being trained by Pai Mei, if they survive their training then they’ll be very well trained as he’s a grandmaster of the order. Pai Mei isn’t too fond of girls though. When Nongmin threatens to speak with Yuehan more, he speaks of moving onwards and declines Nongmin’s offer of making a fetish to house his spirit.
Afterwards, they wander towards their Creche room where they discuss what everyone thinks. They speak of the book and about the Green Seer’s warning of a possible blood mage in the Order. Not even Lanfen believes that it was possible for a master in the order to break his neck on the stairs and is rather concerned about it. They ask about finding the book in the library, with Rang saying that she should be able to find it. Mouse stares at Nongmin as they investigate the library about 20 minutes away, she’s not a fan of males and rather not have them close by.
In the library, Rang grabs a set of keys from under the desk where most don’t know is there. It’s the set that they use when the head librarian isn’t there and are keyed only to certain people. Rang just happens to be one of them. They look through the restricted books and can’t seem to locate it there. They aren’t able to actually find it in their normal location. Nongmin isn’t too convinced that she’s seen the book that only two other people are supposed to be able to find but she’s got a photographic memory and had been sent to clean the area previously. In the spiritual world, Nongmin can see a black misty trail from where the book had been previously. Nongmin follows it to the dungeon where he sees He Qing talking to a person and picking a lock, apparently he’s not as stupid as he appears to be.
Something tries to enter into Nongmin but he resists. He hears a demonic voice telling Qing he has been found and that he needs to hurry before something tries to keep Nongmin there. The bones start to fly out of the bag that alerts Zhiyu that there’s someone in danger. She grabs Ren and runs out of the room with most of the rest of the creche following her. Nongmin retreats from the demon’s attempts to keep him there. Zhiyu follows the tile into places where they haven’t been before, deep underground. There’s no masters around. When they get onto that floor, it’s a giant room, hundreds of feet of passages and gates everywhere. They see someone unconscious and bleeding on the floor. As he’s being healed, he grips Zhiyu’s arm and tells them that they’ve been infiltrated. The bandit leader they brought in has something that smells like demon magic.
They hear a gate opening, and are given a red crystal and are told that they need to throw it into the portal to close it. Jing Min takes it and hurls it into the opened gate while Sheng Yi fires an arrow that the bandit leader catches. The bandit leader walks through the gate but gets an arm holding the arrow cut off where He Qing attempts to follow but the portal explodes in his face and gets knocked down and nearly killed with crystal shards in his face and torso. Zhiyu heals Qing and then cripples his limbs as Nongmin returns to his body and sounds the alarm to Rang and Mouse.
Rang moves to notify the masters and leads them down into the dungeons. They arrive around the same time a large amount of masters arrive in the gate room. They bind He Qing with the attendant’s shirt and Zhiyu insists that he needs an exorcism and he was working with the bandit leader. Theoretically they could use the arm to track the bandit leader. Jong Shi comments that they left him less than 30 minutes ago and it’s not possible to have caused this much trouble so soon. This wasn’t a normal place where people go.
Jing Min suggests it may be time to visit the Master of Whispers and they get expertly debriefed and questioned. The He twins were questioned quite hard after it was revealed that they’re related to He Qing and He Caihong distantly. He Caihong was a member of the Black Silk Rebellion while Zhiyu explains her side of things and Nongmin goes back to Yuehan’s spirit to explain that they let the book out of their grasps. Zhiyu and Nongmin want to help the experts with the exorcism of He Qing and the removed demon is placed in a jar. Zhiyu watches over He Qing’s health and they suggest they want to interrogate him about who pushed Yuehan down the stairs but they’re told that it’s no longer their concern.
Sheng Yi corrals people back to the Creche. They decide that there’s plenty of conspiracy, that the bandit ambush was a trap to get He Caihong into the Order and there’s probably plenty of collusion. There’s talk about the Lady in the Moon possibly being involved before being saying something about her being just a matchmaking spirit. Nongmin and Zhiyu want to speak with the Green Seer even if they go AWOL when Pai Mei comes to look for them and they pull everyone with them whether they want to or not.
They get to the forest and find the Green Seer awake and waiting for them. Nongmin and Zhiyu speak to her and she asks if they got the book. Apparently she’s surprised they’re still alive as she predicted Nongmin’s death when they first met. Nongmin doesn’t believe that the people in the order are going to do anything about what is going on and Zhiyu wants to know about the Nightseekers and Black Silk Rebellion. It all started with a possessed madman, the book was all about summoning demons and using their powers. It was lost centuries ago and the world wasn’t ready for it and still isn’t ready.
The Black Silk Rebellion started a few years ago by Yang Jin and a group called Night Seekers. The Order tracked them down, drew, quartered, and eventually killed Yang Jin and scattered his body parts. The Ebon Book was mostly burned except for the final copy in the Order’s library as it was still knowledge. They tell her everything about the bandit leader and everything. She tells them that there’s nothing they can do, but in a few years, they might be able to affect the coming future. She suggests they strengthen their will to help deal with demons. When mentioning what sort of training they should have, the Green Seer says that she’d be speaking with Pai Mei about accelerating their training even more which doesn’t sound like fun. She gives them a green crystal and tells them that it will allow them to come to her home without having to ride there. On the way out, Nongmin hugs the tree house again and gets possessed mildly.
After Action Report (GM)
I finally got to introduce a bit of uncertainty into the game with He Qing and He Caihong. I also got to introduce what is going to be the main “big bad” for the rest of the season: The Black Silk Rebellion and the Nightseekers – even if only by proxy. Next time skip is likely to be much longer since the PCs will be going out into the world for the first time since they stepped foot in the valley. The Order has trained them very well, but not they will be getting missions outside of the safety of the Valley of Shadows and into the larger world. This will give them some good hands-on experience and give me the opportunity to do more than just training with them.
Bonus report here.